Winter Challenge 2023 - Final Preparations at Rally HQ in Troyes
Standing firm with new tradition, the 22nd Winter Challenge to Monte-Carlo will be held entirely on French roads to offer crews maximum time in the wintery conditions craved by competitors brave enough to challenge themselves and their motorcar on this red status event. The Winter Challenge plays on the charm and rustic authenticity of its innovative values which helps to keep the original winter classic rally quite unique.
“This one is always difficult, there’s a labyrinth of roads in the south which make it hard to know where you should be going – my favourite part is getting to the finish!” Andrew Duerden.
A warning from rally HQ 2023 which is set in the Parc naturel de la Foret d’Orient outside the medieval city of Troyes in France, a tranquil setting in which was chosen to keep each of the 33 rally crews calm before the start of one of historic rallying’s most demanding events in the Alps.
It is graded as a red difficult rally, which will lead the cars through classic rally territory in the south of France taking them all the way to the infamous Col de Turini and into Monte Carlo, the glittering prize for those who make it all the way.
Kevin Haselden, Mini Cooper S. With the Lancia being so good in snow as were the winning Minis in the 60’s, was Kevin in search of snow maybe?
“Yes, but I haven’t done this for quite a long time. We’re looking for some snow at the but of course that would make it quite challenging.
“More likely I think it will be icy in parts but, we all have to use the snow tyres, winter tyres with the three marks on on the side of them which are fine, but they lack a little grip if it is all dry. But if you do hit snow, I’m led to believe they work quite well. I’ve never really found out.”
Whilst talking in front of the Mini’s open bonnet, Kevin was asked to explain the yellow marigold rubber glove poking from the top of the distributor.
“This is a very, very technical piece of gear on the car which stops all water getting into the front of the distributor. The very worst place to put a distributor in a car is right at the front of the engine where it gets all the water, which is what the Mini designers did. It also tends to get condensation inside and then it starts misfiring and eventually stops. I have actually got a spare Marigold rubber glove in the car which if it gets really wet and the car stops, I will swop over!
“But for all the world when you lift the bonnet off, it looks as if someone’s lying underneath with their hand sticking up through the engine!”